The weather forecast for Cape Cod is useless. Planning anything based on any number of otherwise reliable weather apps is futile and foolhardy. I am not a meteorologist, but I am a fan of the science, so I understand why shifting winds and pressure zones and humidity’s rise and fall and tropical storms and so forth all make coastal weather prediction so tricky. Yet I still glance at a forecast, clap my hands for a sunny tomorrow and shake my head in the morning as the fog rolls in.
Is there truly anything that will help me predict the weather? Or the future? Of ANYTHING??!! Will public schools open for in-person learning? When will a vaccine arrive? When can we walk, en masse, into the sanctuary? When will the red and yellow flags of this race be replaced with a green flag again?
The answer is, of course, never. The existential proof of what we don’t know has been rudely revealed since the emergence of the sinister Covid19 pandemic. We have so many questions… and no good answers.
We guess a lot. We approximate. We gamble. We fake it ’til we make it. But we don’t know what happens next. There’s no reading ahead, no bootleg copy, no insider information.
This truth of not knowing is something all humans share. We are vulnerable, every one of us, which is why the current divisive atmosphere is so sad and so toxic. Sad, because we have each other. We know it all works better when we are united in purpose and goal, whether it’s a family or a nation. We know this in the fiber of our DNA, yet people choose sides on issues for which there is no debate, only science, and experience. For instance, we can weigh different responses to Covid19. But its existence, its virulence, its destructiveness is without question. Or should be…
The divisive nature of American society is currently toxic because as people deny simple truths, others are injured or infected or murdered. I am not fool enough to proclaim that love conquers all. But I am not jaded enough to declare that spreading calumny and hatred creates anything other than fear and conspiracy-addled thinking.
I’ve been thinking a lot about hope. Because hope is essential. With it, we are powerful, forward-looking, daring humans. Without it, we are abandoned to anxiety, we close the door to our hearts, morally weakened, spiritually bankrupt.
Is change possible? Will Americans acknowledge that wearing masks is an obligation, a gesture of love, empathy, and good sense? Will Americans recognize the legacy of institutional, systemic racism, and that it’s time to learn, listen, and act on that simple truth? I hope so. Because there’s nothing more deadly for democracy than hopelessness. Hope is the bridge from here to there – wherever ‘there’ is.
I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or even later today. I hope we’ll gather for Kabbalat Shabbat. I hope my Weber grill will fire up. I hope my car will start and stop at the appropriate bidden moments. I hope it’s a beach day tomorrow. I hope my family and friends are well. I hope you’re healthy and hoping.